When hurricane season comes creeping around the corner, how can pilots, and airline passengers, stay safe? The weather can be unpredictable, however, you are not to worry, for airline pilots are trained to fly even in the most difficult of weather. During their training, pilots are trained to make decisions to best protect their airline passengers as well as their entire airline crew and aircraft itself. With that being said, depending on just how dangerous the predicted hurricane may be, flight times and dates may even be subject to change.
Takeoff and Landing Procedures During a Hurricane
When most people board an airplane, they often take their crew for granted. This does not mean that passengers will be inherently rude or ungrateful to the flight crew, but rather more, they do not think of everything the entire crew does for them and the aircraft. More specifically, the crew behind the scenes: the pilots. It is only during more difficult flights, for example, flights during a storm, that aircraft passengers tend to fully appreciate the skills of the crew.
With that being said, how do pilots prepare for these more difficult flights? For starters, airline pilots must be equipped and up to date with the weather report. This gives them time to prepare for any predicted storms and make whatever decisions may be necessary before taking off.
Once the decision has been made that it is safe to take off, the pilot must prepare to brave through the storm. This brings us to the landing procedure. When aircraft are approaching the airport, they enter into what is known as the “boundary layer”. This boundary layer ranges a few thousand feet above the ground. During this time, the pilot will make maximum use of the autopilot. If it is needed at any point during the landing procedure, the pilot will take control and begin to land the aircraft on their own.
Flying Through a Hurricane
For those of us that have been on an airplane before, we have all likely experienced what is known as “turbulence” at least once or twice. However, at the end of it all, we always end up safe and there is never anything to worry about. The same thing is true when discussing flying through a storm. The truth is, the higher you are above the storm, the fewer difficulties you will experience. This is due to the fact that you are too far high above the winds and dangerous weather conditions. Therefore, flying over a hurricane can actually be quite safe. This, of course, will always depend on the situation as some hurricanes may just be too dangerous to attempt to fly over. This is just another factor that the pilot of the aircraft has been trained to decide.
The Difference Between Hurricanes and Thunderstorms
Believe it or not, thunderstorms can actually be more dangerous to fly through than a hurricane. Thunderstorms are also more likely to shut down an airport if needed, even if it is only for a short period of time. Thunderstorms are more disruptive than hurricanes, therefore, a pilot must decide if they can fly through the thunderstorm or if they must turn back.
At Airlink Flight School, you will learn all about what it takes to be a pilot. When it comes to hurricane training, we have got you covered as well. Are you ready to enroll in courses this coming season? If so, feel free to head on over to our website and hit the “Apply Now” button to get started. See you in the air.